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Enjoyable, maybe better than the film itself
2 December 2004
I enjoyed the special "The Words and Music of Cold Mountain" very much. It had some interesting background information emerge through interviews with Anthony Minghella, also it was great to hear the Sacred Harp singers live, especially Tim Eriksen... and the other musicians like Alison Krauss... and to see their facial expressions while performing.

Krauss delivers a beautiful performance of the song "Scarlet Tide." There were readings from the script, as well as the novel, and other inspirational readings too. Overall it felt like a cozy evening in a theater with a group of creative, talented actors and musicians and other collaborators.

I don't think the film "Cold Mountain" by itself is as good as the DVD set that includes this special. You get a better feeling for what the film was trying to say, and for the amount of talent and emotion that went into making it. That the film must be supplemented and complemented by this material is not necessarily bad... it just shows a continuation of the creative community partly rooted in the film.
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comment on film, and reaction to some viewer comments
21 May 2003
First, I have written more extensive comments on "Vertical Ray of the Sun" under the "message board" section on the film's main IMDB page. I assure you that there is more to this film than most of its critics realize, and also there is more to it than the pretty images that many fans of this film see. There are wonderful layers of depth and intelligence that can be found, with effort.

Second, I am saddened by some other comments that portray the East Asian cast/race/filmmakers as somehow a notch below human status.

One user comments, "Why don't they release bad Asian Kung-Fu movies instead of bad Asian Art movies?" thereby suggesting that martial arts films are what Asians are good for, and that they ought not to aspire to the so-called heights of art.

Another comments more disturbingly, "I had a fantasy about a forgotten American G.I., still wandering around in the Vietnamese jungle, who was not aware the war had ended. How he would suddenly pop up in the film, and would start emptying his M16 at the characters in the movie. The red of their blood would make a beautiful contrast with all the green plants in the film........... "

It would give me comfort to know that the authors would re-think their words and feelings (not about the film, but rather the people portrayed in the film). Whether the intention was to be humorous or not, these comments are reflective of a very real attitude of de-humanization and belittlement of Asian people, and of "The Other" more generally.
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